Occupy Ovaries and the Religious Right

Darrell Issa, is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Behind closed doors; the Republican leadership made the decision to pursue President Obama’s perceived attack on the First Amendment rights of Religious institutions.

A Hearing from Representative Issa’s committee, entitled Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?" occurred on Friday, February 17th. The legitimacy of the very question being asked, as stated in the title of the hearing, assumes the willingness of acceptable risk by Republicans regarding public perception of the issue.

The Democrats not only appear prepared to have this fight, they very well may have baited their opponents into it. Their objective is to attack the Republicans on multiple fronts. The Democratic strategy is based on the litany of proposed GOP legislature placing women’s Healthcare rights in the line of fire.

Representative Carolyn Maloney wasted little time attacking the first Panel of all male witnesses presented by Chairman Issa."Half the population of this country are women, and we will not be sent back to the Dark Ages, and we will not be denied our rights." Delegate of the District of Columbia Eleanor Holmes Norton protested by walking out, later denouncing Issa’s hearing as an “Autocratic Regime.” Representative Elijah Cummings expressed his outrage citing the initial absence of female panelist and total disregard for objective witness testimony in opposition to the Catholic Church.

Once the Catholic Health Association, Catholic Charities, Catholics United, and a host of other Catholic groupsgot on board, the complexion of the discussion was altered dramatically. Essentially, the Republican leadership was aligned with the ‘Religious Right’ and the established Church Hierarchy. Seemingly overnight, they found themselves on the minority side of the issue.

The downside Risk of continuing to pursue this matter is potentially devastating. The electorate may view this as an opportune divisive gambit. If so, the blowback on this topic connects a straight line with the long standing Party agenda to ensure President Obama serves only one term, at any costs. The limited upside Reward is to convince the electorate, President Obama is waging a War on Religious Freedom.

Specifically, the national discourse is centered on contraception and Women’s Health Care needs. There is no shortage of examples for women to site regarding Republican attacks to include Personhood Amendments, Overturning Roe vs. Wade legislature, Invasive Vaginal Probes, Birth Control restrictions and defunding Planned Parenthood and the Violence Against Women Act.

Ultimately, the issue was framed as ‘ObamaCare’ violates the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Religion. This won’t be a matter of polling the ethos of the male religious community. A fair and just decision shall be based on the rule of law and precedent.

Permitting religious organizations to structure Health Care policy sets a dangerous standard. Those who follow the doctrine of Christian Scientist and Jehovah’s Witness are prime examples of the negative ramifications of setting such a model.

The challenge to end this dispute would be a contraceptive mandate previously enacted in order to establish a precedent. The Los Angeles Times ran the very story we are searching for this week.

The state of Iowa mandated such a contraception law in the year 2000. The Republican sponsored bill contained no religious exemptions for religious employers, including churches.

Arizona followed suit although they gave an exemption to churches. This too was Republican backed legislation signed into law by Republican Governor Jane Hull;

New York had similar contraceptive Mandate legislature in 2001, Republican Governor George Pataki made it law;

2005, add Arkansas to the mandated contraception ranks as Mike Huckabee signed it into law; He has recently flipped calling it “an attack on religious Liberty.”

Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney also was on board when affixing his signature upon the much ballyhooed Healthcare Mandate. Mitt Romney has since had a change of opinion because he now calls President Obama similar Healthcare Mandate “an assault on Religion.”


Comments 41 comments

gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Dear Wanna B Writer,

I believe you have touched upon every debate point I have personally considered with respect to this issue. Regardless of whether I agree with you or not, the points you make are relative, finely articulated and comprehensive. Thank you for adding substance to the content of this hub.

With respect to your comment regarding "a clearly defined constitutional right to freedom of conscience, the exercise of which is not to be abridged is about to be abridged, they aren't upset and are completely willing to trample on that right." As a strict constitutionist, freedom of conscience is not explicit toward the establishment nor the exercising of ones individual right of religion. Argueably implicit...

Thank you once again for your considered and valued opinion


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

I agree with Chris Neal. I'm an evangelical Christian woman who paid for my own birth control most of my life. I didn't expect my insurance to provide it. My insurance is currently Medicare. It does not cover the safest methods of hormone replacement therapy. If I want them, I have to pay for them myself, and they are much more costly than birth control pills ever were. Yet I'm not lobbying to have Medicare pay for it, even though for me it's a health issue.

Even though this is supposedly about women's health, birth control pills come with their own health risks. I think women should be able to weight the risks and make up their own minds if the benefits outweigh the risks. Republicans are not trying to make birth control unavailable to anyone. They are simply saying people who find it morally objectionable should not have to pay for it.

This is a slippery path. Today it's birth control and those who think that it's a constitutional right for women to get free birth control are upset it might be denied them. But when a clearly defined constitutional right to freedom of conscience, the exercise of which is not to be abridged is about to be abridged, they aren't upset and are completely willing to trample on that right. As George Orwell once wrote in Animal Farm, "Some animals are more equal than others." It seems some rights, especially those not explicitly defined in the Bill of Rights, are more important to liberals to protect than those the Constitution does explicitly define.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thank you for recognizing what disturbs me most these days of political agenda's. I personally would like the facts and be left to decide based on those facts. I tend to agree, it is a rarity. I thank you once again LeahKam, for pointing out what my intent is, for each of us to decide for ourselves. Best to you. I Look forward to our future conversations.


LeahKam profile image

LeahKam 4 years ago

You've managed to do a rare thing here, gjfalcone: report a news story. Excellent job presenting the the facts and looking from both sides. When your opinion comes in, it's very well supported. Just wanted to point this out, because it's not so common these days!


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thank you for articulting your point of view Chris Neal.


Chris Neal profile image

Chris Neal 4 years ago from Fishers, IN

The question needs to be asked about how far the system should go in dictating what we are allowed to think. I'm not a Catholic but I am a conservative Christian and in fact this is already a violation of the Abridgement Clause, no matter what the rationale is. And when it starts, it doesn't stop. Eventually the government WILL tell us what we can say in any given situation, whether it's in the halls of government or the halls of church. I agree that Jehovah's Witness theology is not what I would want to be the law of the land, but once the government claims the right to tell Pro-Life people that they MUST become pro-choicers in practice, even though they don't have to believe it in their hearts, that's not the end of it. And it does not matter who is in charge, when the government claims a power, they don't relinquish it. Chuck Colson said that anyone who enters the highest levels of government automatically becomes statist.

In other words, this is not about Obama. He's just the guy who's in there now. The next guy to go in, whether it's Romney or Lyndon LaRouche, will not turn over that law, they will build upon it.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Hello LauraD,

Always nice to hear a compliment on writing style.Regarding the profile picture; Many people ask which one is me. Apparently I don't fit the image of a conformist in uniform. With respect to Mr. Romney, Point taken.

Take care and thanks once again for your comments LD.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Always a pleasure to hear from you Gloshei. Hope to hear all is well in Europe.


LauraD093 profile image

LauraD093 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

gjfalcone- I really enjoyed this hub as I do most of your work. Your picture profile made my day.I voted it up and interesting. The moderate tone you took is something I have difficulty doing in my own work. Your subtle and wry undercurrent(s) are always interesting as a reader On your Mitt Romney close I had to laugh -when don't the attitudes and tunes change when it is an election year?!


Gloshei profile image

Gloshei 4 years ago from France

Another great hub for me to read, thanks for making it so interesting.

Take care


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

If you find yourself with a few free hours, the AmericansElect site has a phenomenal questionaire which I found most interesting. I don't want to cram anything down your throat. It seems like we share a good deal of viewpoints regarding the future of this nation, as do the people of the AE site. I found the Agenda worthwhile. Thanks for the conversation my friend.


Sooner28 4 years ago

I don't believe we can. I think we need a massive investment in science and technology again. Economic growth is fueled through productive labor and technological change. The more we have of both, the better; and the latter can be improved by investing money in it.

Americans and companies also need to start paying the full price of pollution and climate change. Even the most right-wing economists in the United States admit one of the common "market failures" is "negative externalities." If we are dirtying our air and water, and changing the atmosphere of our planet, prices of goods need to be included in that. So far, that isn't the case.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

RE: Polygamy, nor do I have a problem with the concept. The point being it opens the hypocracy doors that must be reexamined. Education is an excellent example of the point. How can we possibly conquer our current economic crisis while we relitigate the issues of decades hence?


Sooner28 4 years ago

Personally, I have no problem with polygamy as long as there are regulations on it to ensure it was entered into as a free decision by all involved, and children are raised in a loving way. I would never engage in it, but making it illegal? Eh. I'm not religious, but I don't care all that much about it. I know that's a minority position though!

What about education? Many people choose to put their children in religious schools, and then they are not taught about evolution or homosexuality except in the way the religion they are raised in teaches, so the scientific evidence is completely ignored. Not every religious school is like this, and many are fine institutions. What bugs me is when science is abandoned in favor of religious doctrine.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for weighing in Sooner28,

The question I struggled with was simply this, If we choose to open that particular door, does it not lead to further doors of religious doctrine...Polygamy ?


Sooner28 4 years ago

Great hub gjfalcone! "Permitting religious organizations to structure Health Care policy sets a dangerous standard. Those who follow the doctrine of Christian Scientist and Jehovah’s Witness are prime examples of the negative ramifications of setting such a model." I've made this same point, except I took a little different bit of a angle.

People use religious liberty as a red herring to shield them from debating the actual issue. I think the Catholic Church is sexist and should not be allowed to discriminate against women in choosing priests; but there is always this talk about ensuring people have "religious liberty." Many southern pastors were racist during the civil war and defended slavery. Religious liberty is not an excuse to simply do what you wish, and then hide behind the "word of God." Positions must be defended on their own merits.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

In keeping with my New Years resolution,( the only one remaining I might add) my intent is to present the issues of the day through the eyes of posterity. My thanks as always Professor for your respected input and contribution to the substance of my efforts.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Another well-written and balanced Hub. You actually present what the various parties are doing and keep your evaluation of their actions restrained and moderate. It is such a blessing not to have to wade through any personal attacks, hysterical criticism, or purple prose. Thank you for your rational and reasonable reports on what is transpiring politically. SHARING


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for checking in Gloshei. I suppose there are worse things than rattling a cage or two; eh?


Gloshei profile image

Gloshei 4 years ago from France

Great hub and very well put together. I totally agree from far away.

This should rattle a few cages my friend, well done.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for your comments always exploring. Lots of excitement left before the election. Just when I think nothing else could possibly surprise me...


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I agree with your analysis. I see a great victory for President Obama. I also think the house and senate will see a major change in support of the President..Great hub..Well researched....


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

radhapriestess,

I think both sides have a spiritual dimension with respect to morality. Thanks for your input and your Interesting point of view.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for checking in on this topic Poetvix. You have the advantage since I don't know your points of disagreement. Also, I don't mind so much when someone convinces me I may be mistaken or I haven't considered certain perspectives. Take care and be well.


radhapriestess 4 years ago

There is a spiritual dimension to this discussion that the Republicans and conservatives seem to miss. Is it morally right to deny women their human rights? I think this has more moral weight than their so-called religious liberty. What about the liberty of women? The society which treats its women the best is the most moral society. The Bible does not mention birth control, so what do they think they have moral authority over women in this regard? The Earth simply cannot sustain all the children we potentially could have.


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

While I don't necessarily agree with everything said, I do appreciate the discussion. This will be a source of contention for politics and religion for some time to come.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for your kind words Bronterae. You make an excellent point regarding the moral crossover regulating Healthcare. Additionally, 50 million uninsured Americans due largely in part to the Employer/Healthcare linkage.Take care and thanks for adding substance to the hub.


Bronterae profile image

Bronterae 4 years ago from Nor Cal

Lots of thorough research here. A pitfall to regulating healthcare is the moral crossover. Thanks for writing.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thank you for your kind words Anilkumar cv.


Anilkumar cv profile image

Anilkumar cv 4 years ago from kerala,India

If it is an American based Article i felt sweet, thanks.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Hello UnnamedHarald, I completely agree the Republicans walked right into that one. They are blinded by their obsession to limit the President to 1 term. I'm not following the 'backward backwater' Iowa reference.Thanks for your compliment and as always I appreciate your contribution to the substance of the hub. Take Care.


UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Not sure what happened to my earlier comment, so, at the risk of repeating myself: I would like to think the Democrats set the bait-- it would show some spine. Also, I may have issues with my state (Iowa), but being the backward backwater it is sometimes portrayed as is not one of them. Nice analysis; voted up.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for your comments chelseacharleston. I look forward to future conversations and disagreement. Please feel free to change my mind. It adds substance to the hub and keeps the dialogue fresh and alive. Besides, you've heightened my curiousity. Take care.


UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I'd like to think that the Democrats baited the trap-- it would show some spine. Also, I may have issues with my state (Iowa) but being the backward backwater it is sometimes portrayed as is not one of them. Nice analysis. Voted up and interesting.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for your comments HS. This is one of those blunders that could cost the REP. party the House, Senate and White House. I would venture to say it will roll downhill to the State elections as well. I believe the Dems have locked in the womens vote, pretty much gone across all party lines. Take care HS


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for your support iva dragostinova. Indeed it is a cause worth fighting for. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


chelseacharleston profile image

chelseacharleston 4 years ago

Great topic and dialogue. I may not agree with all of what you said, but I appreciate you starting the conversation! Well done!


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Darrell Issa and the GOP had some nerve having no female witnesses at their hearing. Isn't this primarily a women's issue? The GOP are a bunch of arrogant and domineering men. They should lose the female vote completely. I hope they do. Great Hub, GJF.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona Author

Thanks for checking in rambansal. I appreciate your comments and support.


iva dragostinova profile image

iva dragostinova 4 years ago from Brighton, UK

I agree with everything you have written. A strong and articulate piece that's fighting a true cause. Up,. awesome and interesting.


rambansal profile image

rambansal 4 years ago from India

I fully agree and provide my full support.

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